Archive for May, 2012

It took forty-eight years for me to finally become marginally wise. That’s debatable of course. But I’ll give you my word on that one. 

I was always very close to the margin but couldn’t quite cross over that last jagged edge of self-assuredness.

It was essentially five bits of wisdom from four different family members and one local columnist that finally got me there. 

I’m not going to tell you who the five people are or what I learned from them. They are mine (the bits of wisdom). You’ll have to get your own. 

It’s not that they wouldn’t be of any use to you – it’s just that they weren’t meant for you.  

If it sounds selfish of me – I apologize.

I read a hundred helpful quotes on Facebook a day. I usually really like two or three of them. Then I forget them. 

I’m not quite sure why that is. I can quote Frost, Emerson, or Thoreau for about ten minutes immediately after reading them. But the custom-made quotes – they don’t leave me. 

Funny thing is you probably don’t even realize when you’ve shared one of your own. You certainly don’t notice the other person reaching to grab it before it’s lost or wasted on those ears that don’t recognize good words when they hear them. 

Quotes get stolen all of the time. They get misplaced just as often which is why I like to receive mine in an email or a secured area. 

I was told by a reader once that she used a quote of mine at her dinner table. I’m sure it was forgotten ten minutes later.

I don’t remember how I got on this subject – of quotes. What I do remember is the advice from my five people. 

Maybe one day without realizing it; I’ll use that advice in a quote of my own. That won’t be the same as stealing though.

And to think it took me forty-eight years to figure this out.

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Person #1  Got ejected today! I’m protecting my kids, when did umps become so (darn) sensitive?? It’s nothing like when I played? (DARN!!!)

Person # 2  That’s because (it’s) not one of our dads (umpiring).

Person # 3  Lol you love getting thrown out of games. Last time I saw you at (X’s) softball game you got thrown out (of) there to!! Hahahaha

Person # 4  Everyone is getting soft.

Person # 5  When u played, (it) wasn’t like it is now – (too) competitive and u being a chump!!??

Ron Goralski  Zero tolerance from youth coaches.

Person # 6  Love this. First of the young season?? I am good for (an ejection) every year. Always stick up for your players. Problem is, at that level you get the bottom of the barrel of umpires. Or young, snot nosed punks with something to prove and the lack of integrity for the game or respect for its past

Ron Goralski  Seriously?

Person # 1  I’m always defending my guys. Period! But this was ridiculous!

Ron Goralski  Yeah but getting thrown out of youth games. C’mon man. That’s just wrong (on) so many levels. So many other options. Booooo!

Person # 1 ‎  8th (grade) and freshman are not youth sports Ron. It’s the changing of the guard. When (we) teach the guys the game of baseball. If you are referring to little league than I’ll agree. If not, I feel bad that you were never TRULY taught the GAME!

Ron Goralski You should be suspended for that! It is still youth sports. Terrible example to set. Even HS coaches need to keep their cool and control themselves. You are wrong sir.

Person # 1  And high school coaches are ejected every day! I AM suspended for one game! And again, being a fan IS NOT (the same as) knowing the GAME OF BASEBALL!

Ron Goralski  Glad you were taught how to be confrontational. Knowing the game has nothing to do with being tossed and suspended. NOTHING. You’ve done nothing to teach the kids that couldn’t have waited until after the game. You don’t need to act like Billy Martin to teach your teenagers the game Coach.

Ron Goralski  You guys are acting like being tossed (ejected) is a teaching tool. Much better to stay in the game and teach. After the game you can explain why you thought the ump was wrong and why it is more important to teach them good sportsmanship. These are life lessons because unlike what (you are) teaching on the field, these other lessons will follow (them) through life. 

In ten years these kids won’t remember that Coach got thrown out of a game and suspended. But they will certainly remember that Coach demonstrated how to be a gentleman and class act. 

There’s a pretty good chance that you won’t be churning out many Major Leaguers, but you will be sending young men into adulthood. 

(If I was) a parent of one of your players, (I’d) take the lessons that will better prepare them for the world OFF the field. 

As for your comments (Person # 1), I don’t need to know ANYTHING about the game to teach that. 

Good luck with the rest of the season gentlemen.

Person # 1  Again, no clue! You act like we don’t know what we are doing? We teach life lessons. Plenty! See, we (have) class, I have kids that come to us before (going to) their parents! Again, you have no clue as a player or coach! You can have an opinion, that’s your JOB as a writer. But don’t attack the character of myself, (or the others). I won’t judge you as writer (because) I don’t have the experience. So don’t judge how we do our job (because) you don’t have the experience. Our parents praise us for what we do for their kids. Countless hours of volunteer work. YEARS of experience. Our kids know (that) they don’t say SQUAT to an ump or official. See, that’s our job! If you are going to accuse us of having (no) class you need to check yourself at the door! Being a writer, aren’t you supposed to have facts before you rant? Just a question??

Good luck with your column

Ron Goralski  Well, I’ve been involved in youth sports for over 25 years. I’ve coached and served on youth boards. I’ve stood side-by-side with some of the finest coaches and men that I know. And none of them have been thrown out of a game. As mentioned above, many of the refs and umps are dads and high school kids. Half of the dads are only umpping because it’s a requirement to being a coach in many leagues. So you are going to argue to the point of being ejected from the game and then suspended? I don’t care how many hours of teaching skills you’ve done, being tossed for arguing in front of a team of 14-year-olds negates it all. That’s what you want them to learn? That throwing a fit and questioning calls is another way of sticking up for them and bringing the team together? Oh because you “have their backs” Coach? Are you kidding me? I’m sure you do teach life lessons, but that is not one that I want my kid to learn. I’m sure you are all very dedicated volunteers as well – and I’ve spent years defending coaches whenever parents have come down hard on them. I made a position on one board strictly dealing with that. I’ve been all over the youth sport’s landscape. You don’t have to question that and try and use (lack of coaching experience) against me. In fact, I’ve coached 14 and 15-year-olds in baseball – just like you. There are many ways to handle bad calls by an official and none of them at this level includes being ejected from a game. And then for you guys to think it’s funny – that’s where it begins to go downhill at a scary rate of speed. I’m sure the parents love you as a coach – just as I’m sure the players do. But arguing with officials at THIS level does not do a bit of good for ANYONE involved. That much I am absolutely positive about.

Person #8 (youngest coach of the group)  I’ve seen many of my coaches throughout the years (being) thrown out of games, so does that mean that we as players have learned this “tool” and have used it? No it does not. I have seen (a popular HS coach) get ejected many times in high school and even when I was younger going to games, but did that stop the hundreds of youth from attending his camps every summer? Did that stop the town (from winning championships) and go on to produce many college athletes? I have had some of the best coaches in the state and country and for you to sit here and say that it’s wrong and boo someone (online), well maybe that’s just wrong and you should think before you pick your battles.

Ron Goralski   I like your answer. Let’s take HS coaches out of the mix for a moment. Dads that are coaching kids in any of these town youth leagues are not (in place) to argue with umpires or refs. There’s no need for it at that level considering the state of the officiating in most cases. Most good youth programs warn the coaches before the season begins that bad behavior will result in suspensions. That tells you that the organization does not want to see it. I’m not sure what else needs to be said. A lot of coaches are trying to act like Big League managers when they really need to focus on what’s best for the kids. Most are dads that perhaps played in HS and maybe some college ball. They mean well and no doubt work very hard. I love most of them! But getting tossed… Not cool at all. Not when nobody except them or their buddies keeps score.

Person # 1  You don’t even know WHY I was ejected! I’m glad to hear you’ve been involved and had good coaches. Really I am. But the way YOU and your coaches did things is just that. Your way. Nobody has the same coaching techniques. And again, you don’t what was said. As far as the umps, (they are members of a local board); nobody’s dad is out there.

Ron Goralski  Person # 1, it’s wrong. Plain and simple. Don’t argue with the umps in front of the kids at that age. You are not (a paid coach). Nobody wants to see it.  

Person # 9  Dear Ron,
All do respect, don’t know you, and don’t care. However, YOUR passion of NOT being thrown out of a game as a coach, is NO different of a passion than (Person # 1) has coaching HIS, regardless the age. As long as profanity ISN’T the approach of the argument (hint, the kids have heard that much already at 9-12 yr olds, and still DOESN’T condone in a public venue) the coach SHOULD vouch for what is right for the kids involved or team affected. Especially when an action taken wasn’t right!
I’ve never coached little league for that matter, nor know how. I agree a coach’s objective is to resolve a problem rather than seek suspension; however umpires can be quick to judge; call it calling strikes. It just there nature to end any dispute quickly. They’re usually reluctant to admit a mistake or correct it for that matter. The umpire should offer to take it up in a time out so that coach(s) involved HAVE recourse. Discussion after a game is only critique, although wise, but won’t resolve the issue at hand.

Ron Goralski   Point well taken Person #9.

League official using league moniker (Turns out to be Person # 6)  
Good job (Person # 9). I have kept quiet long enough so now it is my turn. Coaches always get the bad rep that we were wrong. For example, I was ejected by an umpire last season that followed me to my bench continuing the argument and then tossed me. I had to sit a game and what happened to him, nothing. And we all teach our players to respect everybody and that is what they learn. We all learn from our coaches and take pieces of them with us as we grow and become coaches in our own ways. It’s called tradition. I hope any of my players would someday learn things I have taught them in any minor way. I know (Person # 1) is a great coach because of who taught him. I know (Person # 8) is a good young coach because (of) where he learned the game.

Ron Goralski Yup I get all that. What bothered me was the tone in the first few posts where there almost sounds like back slapping going on. I have been in the middle of some very, very bad situations over the years between officials and coaches. It’s a very serious matter in youth sports these days. Some of the early comments made it sound like it was dads and (high school) kids as umps.

Person # 6  It wasn’t back slapping. It was acknowledging a fraternity. A brotherhood. We have all been there.

Person # 10  My turn now. I’m from a family of both umps and coaches. There are two things to remember – if you are the coach and are questioning the call or maybe my position (as an umpire) you may have an argument but if you start questioning my integrity you are gone.

From a coaching side you have to stand up for your kids no matter what. They have to believe you will always have their back. You can’t coach them if they do not believe in you.

Ron Goralski  Ok I couldn’t disagree more – not at this level. Please – these are teens. I’ve been on youth football sidelines for 15 years with this age group. They believe in you because of your leadership qualities. Honest to God this gets better by the minute. I’m in no mood to rehash all of this again. But you aren’t there to act like a major league manager. It’s a game at this level. This seems like a war between coaches and umps and all of it getting in the way of the game – which is really for the KIDS. If the umps are the problem here… well I’ll be looking into that as well. Again I have no doubt you are all good coaches and role models. But understand that these issues are exactly what (my column) is all about.

Ron Goralski  Person # 1, it sounds like the umps are antagonizing the coaches and sucking you guys in. That’s wrong. It’s not why they are there. That is messed up and if it’s true I’m getting to the bottom of it because it takes away from the KID’S GAME. And that’s all it is. 70% of athletes don’t move on to play in HS. Something turns them away from it. And it’s not just the kids that aren’t as good. Some of the studs will not play in HS. Something is very wrong.

Person # 1  (I) was def. baited! He wanted to throw me out. Again long story. As a coach I can’t dwell on it. I just know that THIS ump will bait you in now. So I have to be careful with him next time we meet. I did find out he has thrown out SEVERAL coaches and players. But out of respect for umpires, my town, and the game, I’m not going to give a name. I don’t believe in that. But yes, there are umps that are the problem and coaches too. Some coaches just love to hear themselves talk. So my point is it can be both sides.

Ron Goralski  Ok I understand. You have to understand where I am coming from as well. Parents are sick of sports being ruined but idiot adults. And some of these parents are just as much the problem. You have to agree that it takes away from what’s most important in those two hours on the field. Why should the kids have to be a part of that crap? They just want to play and get better and hopefully have fun.

Person # 1  I understand your point. As far as getting (stuff) right with umps? No there isn’t. See old school umpires get respect by controlling the game. A good umpire can prevent ANY argument from escalating. Take control. At any level, if you embarrass an umpire, a good umpire will toss you without hesitation. But at the beginning of the game a good ump will make it clear he/she won’t tolerate ANY (crap). Will that stop coaches? No not all but some. It’s also reputation. But teaching the way of the “old school” is in my opinion, DETRIMENTAL  to umpires and baseball itself. You have a new breed that is doing it cuz they get a paycheck from it. Not because they love it. THAT is a problem.

Ron Goralski  Only baseball. Just like the idiotic “tradition” of throwing at a guy that’s hit two homers or the guy that comes up after him. Some of that old thinking has to stop. And at the youth level? I’m ready to pull my (bad word) hair out. Alright man.

Person # 1  Some old school (crap) needs to stop yes. But not with umpires. The new (coaches or umps? I’m not sure what he was referring to) need to be taught by old school umps. I really believe that if you had more TRUE OLD SCHOOL UMPS getting involved in teaching then it would be a big turn around in what we see today. I’m not talking about someone who (was an umpire in) little league and only that for 30 years. I’m talking high school and college for 30 plus yrs.

Person # 11  I have been reading this thread since yesterday, and I have to say – as a mother of 2 children who play sports- I see nothing wrong with the kids seeing their coach stick up for them at the time a problem arises. Yes, I would also like to see it be a teaching moment after the fact where the coach sits down with the kids and explains why it was wrong, and why he objected to what the ump was doing. But in the heat of the moment, I feel that the kids need to see that their coach is going to do his job and stick up for them. As long as it doesn’t become a screaming match between coach & ump, then to me- nothing wrong with it. Kids learn very quickly who they can and can’t trust. In sports, they need to fully trust their coaches in order to learn from them. If they don’t feel the coaches are going to jump in as needed, to me, in my opinion, they will not trust them and therefore not learn as much from them.

Ron Goralski  Hmm… I have to say I’m surprised with the whole sticking up for your player thing at this age. (Our) coaches have spoken to refs at halftime and discussed if they had a problem with a call. But no way should they be arguing to the point of being kicked out of a game. Not a youth game. Yeah I can’t believe it is being associated with “trust”. If the child is in danger because of an ump not doing his job… ok then you have to make an issue of it. But anything else that has to do with judgment calls – the coach needs to shut up and coach his kids. I’ve never been a part of a league that has encouraged its coaches to question the officials. Guess I just found one. I can’t wait to get out there and see it for myself. This is the type of atmosphere that can erupt into a bad situation if you get the wrong combination of fans, coaches, and officials together. All you have to do is Google it. It’s all right there. I’m discouraged by this mentality at this level. And to find out that people think something good can come out of it… My goodness. Someone please send me a schedule. I can’t wait to see this!

Ron Goralski  You guys all need to read Bob Bigelow’s, Just Let the Kids Play. Please read it, pass it around to everyone. I’m begging you

Ron Goralski  I’ve had to suspend a few coaches over the years for being tossed out of games. They never did it again.

I’ve roamed sidelines as a board member at games asking parents to keep their mouths shut when they were screaming at the officials.

But I do travel to many towns where coaches and parents act like complete idiots and it’s really sad. I’ve been writing about this stuff for 15 years. So I guess nothing should surprise me anymore.

Person # 11  I do not encourage any parent to coach or yell criticism from the sidelines. To me, that is a coach’s job. (To coach that is, not to yell criticism.) And also, I am not a part of the league Person # 1 coaches in- I actually have no idea where he coaches- we don’t even live in the same town. I am only speaking as a parent, who has children that play sports. I feel that I have been respectful of your opinion, and have not said anything negative to you. I would hope that you also remain respectful of my opinion.

Person # 10  In a perfect world you would be 100% correct. Every call would be right. There would be no reason to keep score or give out awards. We can make every game like T-Ball. Every inning everyone gets up and runs all the way around the bases. Or maybe we make every football game a flag football game. Why have The Olympics? Why have World Records? If you are going to keep score and keep standings you are going to have arguments at any level. Is it right? No. But it is life.

Now I agree that the people in the stands should not be getting involved with the screaming at the refs or umps. Even coaches hounding them all game but there are times when something needs to be said. I’ve thrown out coaches and been thrown out of games for a conversation that nobody but the two involved have heard. Like (Person # 1) said it looks like we’ll have to agree to disagree.

Person # 10  How about a change in direction – my daughter dances, when competing there are judges, I would expect her coach/instructor to stand up for her and the dance team if they were unfairly judged. Same is true for musicians, science fairs, academic contests and any arena children are competing against each other.

Ron Goralski  Now you’re just playing with me, right? So wait… you are going to argue with the Science teacher if you think your child should have gotten a ribbon – but didn’t?

Can I ask how old your daughter is?

Person # 7  (She is under 10-years-old). She plays (baseball) and takes (dance). What I’m saying is this is bigger than sports. It’s about life. Wherever there is a competition with kids and coaches/instructors/teachers/mentors I would expect them to stand up for our kids if they feel they were done wrong.

Ron Goralski   Competition is fine. Competition is healthy. But we are clearly too obsessed with results at the youth level. Even into the teen years. The book I mention above is a great read Paul. It puts competition and the need for winning into perspective. That’s about it from me at this point. I cover all of this in my little column on Patch.

NOTE: It is at this point of the discussion that I had to send this transcript into my editor.